Linda I's Reviews > Les Liaisons dangereuses

Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre-Ambroise Choderlos d...
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Apr 15, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: classic-literature, french-literature, choderlos-de-laclos
Read from April 12 to 15, 2010

An interesting and sad story, composed entirely of letters written between characters, following the destruction two people's malicious games can inflict on the innocent. The Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil make a bet: if the Vicomte can seduce the married Madame de Tourvel, then the Marquise will sleep with him. Added to the drama is the young and impressionable Cécile de Volanges who is due to marry one of the Marquise's former lovers. Determined to ruin her former lovers' happiness, the Marquise asks the Vicomte to seduce Cécile, and at first he refuses. However, upon hearing that Cécile's mother is speaking ill words about him, he reverses his earlier decision and suceeds in seducing her. But, Cécile has actually fallen in love with her music tutor, Chevalier Danceny. The Marquise and the Vicomte pretend to assist the two lovers, only in so far as it furthers their plans of destroying both Cécile and Chevalier's lives. Meanwhile, the Madame de Tourvel proves diffcult to seduce and the Vicomte finds himself falling in love with her, and vice versa. In the end, the Marquise is jealous by the Vicomtes love for Madame de Tourvel and catalyzes a duel between the Vicomte and Chevalier. Mortally wounded, the Vicomte, on his death bed, speaks to Chevalier about the incident and discovers the Marquise's treachery. He gives Chevalier the letters between himself and the Marquise in order to expose her games. Open to the harsh criticism of the French aristocracy, she flees, but not before contracting a disfiguring case of small pox. Madame de Tourvel distraught over the Vicomtes death, herself perishes from grief. Cécile goes back to the convent where she grew up and decides to become a nun. Chevalier also leaves to pursue a new life away from the insidiousness of man. Great story, but you have to appreciate French literature and the Romanticism style to really understand the hysterical nature of the characters.
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